This is part 2 of my video game 52 for 52 – part 1 can be found here
I have a whole list of games in my backlog which I’ve set aside as part of this project and the next on the randomised list was going to be DJ Hero. However, it turns out the turntable controller I have is rather broken, which is a shame as I was all ready to sit down and enjoy a rhythm-action game – barring a few forays on Rhythm Heaven, my last proper experience of the genre was about 5 years ago when Rock Band was the height of house party fun and LMFAO were a thing.
As it turned out, Amplitude was released to all its Kickstarter backers this week as well and as such was a fitting replacement for week 2. For those that don’t know, the original Amplitude was the game Harmonix made before Guitar Hero, and while Frequency was the studio’s first full title, it was Amplitude which perfected the ‘notes coming towards you on a flat plane’ gameplay that was popularised by plastic controllers. However, rather than just follow a set path, in Amplitude you switch between the different sections of the track (Synth, Drums, Bass etc.) which feels a lot more like you’re actually playing the music and creating your own remix version of the intended track.
With the remake, Harmonix have stuck to this tried and tested formula just as they did with Rock Band 4, and while there’s certainly an element of ‘if it ain’t broke…’, it would have been nice to see the game expanded a little bit. As it stands, there are just two modes; campaign, a 15-song concept album which plays out the game’s main story, and quickplay, where you can pick any track to play either solo, or in local co-op and versus. The campaign’s story does seem a little out of place, and the multiplayer modes are basic, but both were enjoyable if you enjoy score attack and leaderboard-centric gameplay.
The main draw of these types of games comes from its tracklisting, and while there are a couple of duds hanging around and a few tracks that take a few listens to get into, it’s generally pretty strong. A lot of complaints about the game have been due to the lack of licensed music but I didn’t find this to be that big of a problem; however, if you don’t like electronica you probably won’t get as much out of it as I did.
As it turns out, I’m backbreakingly mediocre at these sorts of rhythm games; on Rock Band I could never properly deal with even 4 notes rather than 3 on the easier modes, and with Amplitude I’ll forever live in Intermediate difficulty – any higher and I completely lose track of what I’m pressing. However, though single player can be a short experience for someone like me, multiplayer against my similarly skilled (but slightly better) wife will keep this in rotation for a few weeks more. The lure of public leaderboards though? Won’t go near them, I value not having claw-hands and temper tantrums too much.